science, nature, African savanna, invasive ants, lion hunts thwarted
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How Ants Thwarted Lions on the African Savanna (Maria)

The author writes, “Filter David and Goliath through a Rube Goldberg machine, and you’ll get a sense of a bizarre ecosystem shake-up happening in the African savanna. In the grasslands of Kenya, an invasive ant has displaced an insect that protects the region’s acacia trees, allowing elephants to overgraze them. This, in turn, has denuded the landscape, robbing lions of the hiding spots they need to stalk zebras and forcing them to switch to a more difficult — and dangerous — prey: buffalo. ‘This study was a beautiful snapshot of how complicated ecosystems can be — this idea that you pull on a single thread and the whole system reacts,’ says Meredith Palmer, an ecologist at Fauna & Flora International who was not involved in the work, published [Friday] in Science.”

GOP Senators Seethe as Trump Blows Up Delicate Immigration Compromise (Reader Jim)

The authors write, “Senior Senate Republicans are furious that Donald Trump may have killed an emerging bipartisan deal over the southern border, depriving them of a key legislative achievement on a pressing national priority and offering a preview of what’s to come with Trump as their likely presidential nominee. In recent weeks, Trump has been lobbying Republicans both in private conversations and in public statements on social media to oppose the border compromise being delicately hashed out in the Senate, according to GOP sources familiar with the conversations — in part because he wants to campaign on the issue this November and doesn’t want President Joe Biden to score a victory in an area where he is politically vulnerable.”

Swifties May Be Able To Sway 2024 Elections: All Taylor Swift Has To Do Is Say the Word (Mili)

From USA Today: “Pop superstar Taylor Swift might have helped register enough voters in a single day last September to swing close races in multiple states, with turnout experts predicting a strong youth vote for the 2024 presidential election. After an Instagram post by Swift, a record of more than 30,000 people signed up through during National Voter Registration Day, many of them teens who will be eligible to vote in this fall’s election. Among the top states for those new registrations: Texas, California, New York, Illinois and Florida.”

As Book Battles Rage, Washington State Senate Votes to Make It Harder to Shut Down a Library (Reader Steve)

From The Seattle Times: “As battles over books and libraries continue to rage nationwide, the Washington Senate took a small step Wednesday to protect libraries across the state. Senate Bill 5824, passed unanimously by the Senate on Wednesday, comes in response to an effort last year to close the only library in rural Columbia County. It would make such attempts more difficult, requiring more signatures to get proposed shutdowns on the ballot and then allowing a larger population of voters to decide a library’s fate.”

The EPA Is Backing Down From Environmental Justice Cases Nationwide (Laura)

The author writes, “The agency has pumped the brakes on Civil Rights Act investigations out of apparent fear that a Louisiana challenge could make it to the Supreme Court.”

The ‘Dark Earth’ Revealing the Amazon’s Secrets (Sean)

From the BBC: “Deep within the Amazon, Mark Robinson was up to his knees in buried treasure. Together with an international team of scientists, Robinson was on an expedition to a remote patch of forest in Iténez, northwest Bolivia, close to the border with Brazil. Getting there had not been easy. … The researchers had an important mission: they were searching for ‘Amazonian dark earth’ (ADE), sometimes known as ‘black gold’ or terra preta. This layer of charcoal-black soil, which can be up to 3.8m (12.5ft) thick, is found in patches across the Amazon basin. It is intensely fertile — rich in decaying organic matter and nutrients essential for growing crops, such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. But unlike the thin, sandy soils typical of the rainforest, this layer was not deposited naturally – it was the work of ancient humans.”

British Zoo Has New Plan to Rehabilitate Its Potty-Mouthed Parrots (Dana)

The author writes, “A British wildlife park has hatched a new plan to rehabilitate its potty-mouthed parrots after they unleashed a tide of expletives. Back in 2020, five foul-mouthed African gray parrots, donated to Lincolnshire Wildlife Park in eastern England, were isolated from the flock in an attempt to improve their language. But, from Tuesday, the team is adopting a different, riskier approach of integrating three newly donated, cuss-happy birds — named Eric, Captain and Sheila — alongside the original five miscreants into the flock. ‘When we came to move them, the language that came out of their carrying boxes was phenomenal, really bad. Not normal swear words, these were proper expletives,’ the park’s chief executive, Steve Nichols, told CNN. ‘We’ve put eight really, really offensive, swearing parrots with 92 non-swearing ones,’ he said.”


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